For this article we collected twenty-one of the most appropriately sad funeral songs we could find.
These songs are ideal for playing during a slideshow, a time of contemplation, a candle lighting, or any other memorial event during the funeral service.
Some of the tracks have sad lyrics yet more upbeat tunes. Others have more somber melodies with comparatively uplifting, perhaps even hopeful, lyrics. The point is that these songs have a sound and feel which is appropriate for a funeral service.
Funerals are mournful occasions, and the songs you choose should suit the moment. Whatever kind of sad funeral song you want, we’ve got it here.
Top 21 Sad Funeral Songs
In alphabetical order, here are out top 21 picks for sad funeral songs:
- A Long Way by Josh Garrels
- Candle In the Wind by Elton John
- If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw
- I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy
- In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan
- I Want You Here by Plumb
- I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
- Let Her Go by Passenger
- Live This Life by Big N Rich
- My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
- Possibility by Lykke Li
- Remember When It Rained by Josh Groban
- Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne
- Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton
- Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood
- The Last Waltz by Engelbert Humperdinck
- Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
- To Where You Are by Josh Groban
- When You’re Gone by Avril Lavigne
- Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney
- Yesterday by The Beatles
Below we’ve included descriptions for each of these songs, as well as video/audio clips and options for downloading.
1. A Long Way by Josh Garrels (2015)
Christian folk singer Josh Garrels brings us the the first tune on our list, A Long Way. From start to finish, this song definitely feels sad, but in a relaxed sort of way.
It’s a good choice for a sad funeral song. Guitar hums and soft percussion blend seamlessly with smoky, twangy vocals and soulful lyrics to provide just the right amount of melancholy.
2. Candle In the Wind by Elton John (1997)
Candle In the Wind was first written by Elton John in 1973, in memory of none other than Marilyn Monroe. But most people today are perhaps more familiar with his 1997 version, which was rewritten in honor of the late Princess Diana (and subsequently sung at her funeral).
This means that you have two versions of this sad song to choose from: Elton’s 1973 version, which has more of a classic rock sound, or the 1997 one (above), which is more of a ballad.
Either version you choose, this is a fittingly sad funeral song that will serve as a reminder of your loved one and the beautiful legacy they leave behind.
3. If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw (2007)
Some would say that the saddest songs of all are those of the country variety. Well, in our humble opinion, If You’re Reading This proves the point.
In this sad memorial song, country crooner Tim McGraw sings about viewing life from the other side of death.
Written from the perspective of a soldier killed in battle, the soldier tells his beloved that he’s doing alright. He wants her to know that he is in a better place, and that she and the rest of the family are also going to be alright.
4. I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans (1997)
I’ll Be Missing You, released in 1997 by rapper Puff Daddy and R&B artist Faith Evans, is a sort-of-cover of The Police’s 1983 song “Every Breath You Take.”
Diddy’s version was recorded in honor or the Notorious B.I.G., who was killed earlier that year.
If you’re looking for a song with a beat to it, yet with lyrics sentimental enough to draw tears, take a listen to this one. Listen closely and you’ll also hear parts of the Christian hymns “I’ll Fly Away” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”
5. In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan (1998)
Say “sad funeral songs”, and this will be the song tat will immediately pop into the minds of many.
In the Arms of an Angel was first released in 1998 on Sarah McLachlan’s album Surfacing. It was originally written in memory of Jonathan Melvoin, a member of the Smashing Pumpkins who has tragically passed away two years earlier.
Ever since then, Angel (the official title of the track) has been played at countless funerals and memorial services, for people of all ages. An extremely moving song with equally moving lyrics.
6. I Want You Here by Plumb (2013)
There is nothing more sad than the loss of an infant or young child. For the funeral of one of these little ones, I Want You Here by Christian artist Plumb takes that unimaginable loss and puts it into words.
The song conveys incredible emotion (and draws tears from yours truly) every single time. Because of the subject matter and depth of feeling, this one could very well be the saddest song on this entire list.
7. I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan (1993)
Before Angel came Sarah McLachlan’s 1993 tune I Will Remember You. While the melody isn’t quite as doleful as Angel, this gentle song nonetheless brings out all the feels.
Another popular song choice for funeral services, the lyrics remind listeners to focus on the good times over the bad, on happy memories over sad ones.
8. Let Her Go by Passenger (2012)
Here’s one of those songs that sounds lighthearted on the surface, but when you really get to listening to the lyrics, you realize just how sad it actually is.
Let Her Go, by singer-songwriter Michael Rosenberg (AKA Passenger), was released as a single in 2012 and has since enjoyed international acclaim.
In the song, Passenger sings about missing what you’ve got only after it’s gone… a sentiment sure to strike a somber and relevant chord at the funeral of a loved one.
9. Live This Life by Big & Rich (2004)
Country duo Big & Rich don’t hold back when tugging at the heartstrings with this one. Live This Life describes someone who is determined to make the most out of life, and to inspire others along the way, after going through a really rough patch but finding hope once more.
A sad-sounding funeral song with a meaningful message.
10. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (1997)
We probably don’t have to describe this one to you. After all, if you were alive and conscious throughout the 1990s, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard it before.
This chart-topping hit from the soundtrack to the 1997 movie Titanic is passionately sung by world-renown artist Celine Dion. My Heart Will Go On is a moving, romantic theme chronicling the waves of pain and hope following the death of a beloved.
It’s a very sad song, but also somehow inspiring. The focus on loving hearts united forever makes it especially fitting for a spouse’s funeral.
11. Possibility by Lykke Li (2009)
While you’ve probably heard the last song on this list before, it’s likely that you haven’t yet heard this one (unless you’re a Twilight fan).
Possibility by Swedish songstress Lykke Li is one of those sad songs on this list that is all around sad. A mournful piano and rueful lyrics, lamenting about the possibility of never seeing a loved one ever again, darkens one’s mood like yet another overcast day.
If you choose to play this depressing song at your loved one’s funeral, perhaps consider following it up with something a bit more uplifting.
12. Remember When It Rained by Josh Groban (2003)
Josh Groban’s voice is perfect for singing sad songs, wouldn’t you say?
If you’re not familiar with Groban’s vocals, take a listen to Remember When It Rained and you’ll quickly agree.
Another track heavy on the piano (there’s just something so very mournful about that instrument), Remember When It Rained features Josh describing an anguish so deeply felt over the loss of someone so deeply loved. A beautiful, haunting funeral song.
13. Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne (2004)
Avril Lavigne may be a household name in the world of punk/pop/rock, but throughout her career she’s also released several highly emotional, soul-stirring songs that have slipped into the mainstream yet often remained under the radar. Slipped Away is just one of them.
From her 2004 album Under My Skin, this sad song is appropriate for the funeral of someone who is missed beyond measure and desperately wanted back.
14. Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton (1992)
Eric Clapton wrote Tears In Heaven following the tragic death of his little boy. It’s one of those tunes that’s not so painful in the music, but heartbreaking in the lyrics.
In this sad funeral song, Clapton contemplates his son in heaven, and wonders what would happen if he was reunited with him there.
15. Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood (2009)
Are you trying to find a song that’s both sad and happy at the same time? Carrie Underwood’s 2009 track Temporary Home is somehow both of those.
In this single, she concludes that no matter what sadness or despair we’re going through, it always leads back to the fact that we’re only passing through this old world… Because our real and “forever” home is in Heaven, where death is no more.
16. The Last Waltz by Engelbert Humperdinck (1967)
Let’s get a genuine classic in the mix of sad songs for funerals. Consider this throwback tune: The Last Waltz, from the legendary Engelbert Humperdinck. Humperdinck is an English vocalist with a smooth voice who hails from the golden era of pop music.
Here he eloquently reminisces about the last time moments he spent with someone he loved very much, before she was suddenly gone and he was left alone. This is the perfect song for that person with whom you would give anything for one last waltz together.
17. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper (1983)
Want another melancholy pick that’s also a little more retro? Then we couldn’t not include Cyndi Lauper’s familiar ’80s megahit Time After Time.
Whether she’s talking about being away from her loved one temporarily, or permanently because of death, this song’s message of longing (not to mention the nostalgia factor) is sure to move everyone in attendance at your loved one’s service.
18. To Where You Are by Josh Groban (2001)
We’ve already mentioned Josh Groban in this list, but we couldn’t pass another of his popular funeral songs.
Ever since its release on his debut album in 2001, To Where You Are has been a staple at memorial services everywhere. The lyrics stick with you, sweetly reminiscent of your departed loved ones, and is thus a popular choice for funerals all over the world.
19. When You’re Gone by Avril Lavigne (2007)
We’ve also already mentioned Avril Lavigne. But when you hear When You’re Gone, you’ll understand why we had to include her music once more.
This song describes so beautifully what so many of us have trouble putting into words following the death of a loved one. It’s all the mourning, despair, loneliness and longing put into one gorgeous – or shall we say, gorgeously sad – funeral song.
20. Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney (2005)
Who You’d Be Today by country singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney is an appropriate funeral song for someone who died young.
While that topic alone classifies it as “sad,” we’ve got other reasons to include it here. One of those is the unique perspective of the song; it looks into the future as though the person who’s died is still here and thriving.
Knowing that they no longer can be with us, well, it doesn’t get much more devastating than that. Still, the song ends on a note of hope: we know that, someday, we’ll see them again. And that’s a comforting thought.
21. Yesterday by The Beatles (1965)
We close our list of 21 sad funeral songs with one last oldie-but-goodie. Yesterday by British rock band The Beatles (perhaps you’ve heard of them?) is dismal in both tune and lyric, but not in an overly heavy sort of way.
So for a sad funeral song that doesn’t venture too far from the lighter side of sad – if there is such a thing – pick Yesterday.
More Sad Funeral Songs
For further inspiration, you can always bookmark our master list of funeral songs, The Most Popular Funeral Songs of All Time, as your go-to source for all types of music.
In that article we’ve compiled 100+ tracks for your listening pleasure and consideration for the service. Some will help you as you look for the perfect song for the funeral, while others will covey a sense of comfort that only the best art can provide.